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THE SCOTCH BAG-PIPE.
"In nothing they're ac3counted sharp
Except in bag-pipe and in harp."
(lg*Sf)HERE can be no doubt ttat the bag-pipe, in one form or
^1^ another, is of great antiquity ; and it seems to have been
^^^ familiar, from the earliest ages, to almost every nation in
Europe. It is represented on ancient coins, and on pieces of
Grecian and Eoman sculpture. It appears, for examp]
of Nero's, of -which we give a
cut, reproduced from Mont-
faucon's Antiquities. Two sep-
arate instruments are, we think,
here grouped together — a prim-
itive organ and a bag-pipe ; but
we leave the reader to form his
own opinion as to this. Nero
himself, according to Suetonius,
was a performer on the instru-
ment ; and it is mentioned
that, when the Emperor heard of the revolt by which he lost
empire and his life, he made a solenm vow that, if it should please
the gods to extricate him from his difficulties, he would per-
form in pubhc on the bag-pipe — an entertainment of which the
public were deprived by the event. In the sixth century it is
mentioned by Procopius as the instrument of war of the Eoman
infantry, while the trumpet was that of the cavaby. The bag-pipe
is said to have been a martial instrument of the Irish Kerns, or
infantry, as far back as the reign of Edward III., and to have
continued as such down to the sixteenth century. It is said to
have been known to the ancient Germans, and that it was popular
at a comparatively recent period is attested by nximerous old prints.
It seems to have been a favourite instrument with the EngUsh.
Oxford Ckillege received from William of Wykeham, in 1403, a
beautiful sdver-gUt crozier set with precious stones, having an
angel playing the bag-pipe, among other figures embeUishing ii
Chaucer's miller played upon it :
"A bag-pipe well couth he blowe and sowne."
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE SCOTCH BAG-PIPE.
In the fine old song, written during the reign of James I. (of
England), and which contrasts the glorious times of Queen Elizabeth
with those of her degenerate successor, we are told the old English
gentleman had a good old custom when Christmas was come,
" To call in his old neighbours with bag-pipe and drum,"
Shakespeare has several allusions to it. He talks of the "drone of
a Lincolnshire hag-pipe," and of sdly people (whose breed is not yet
extinct) who " laugh Kke parrots at a bag-piper." From the accounts
of the Lord High Treasurer we see that Enghsh bag-pipers used to
visit the Scotch Court. On the 10th July 1489 there is a payment
of "eight shillings to Inglis pyparis that came to the castle yet and
playit to the King." In 1505 there is another payment to the
" Inglis pipar with the drone."
Whether the bag-pipe originated in Scotland, with which it is
now almost exclusively associated, or whether it was introduced,
and, if so, when and by whom there is no evidence to show. To
these questions, as to many others of equal importance, history
returns no answer. Where curiosity is strong and facts are few
the temptation to conjecture is weU-nigh irresistible. In this as
in almost every other field of human enquiry they are abundant.
The folio-wing may serve for examples : — •
In his " Essay on the Influence of Poetry and Music on the
Highlanders" P. Macdonald refers to a tradition existing in the
Hebrides that the bag-pipe was introduced by the northern nations,
whose Viceroys governed these islands for at least two centuries, and
that from the Hebrides a knowledge of the instrument spread to
Mr Pennant, in his " Torn' through Scotland," allows that the
Danes or Northmen may have improved the instrument ; but asserts
that the Scotch received it from the Eomans, who again were
indebted for it to the Greeks. Others aflSrm that the latter,
although reluctant to give strangers the credit of valuable inven-
tions, acknowledge their ohHgations to the barbarians (i.e. Celts)
for music and musical instruments ; whilst others, to make " con-
fusion worse confounded," think it might have been communicated
to the Scots by the Britons or Welsh, who probably acquired it
from the Eomans — all of which, and some other learned and
contradictory conjectures, just land us where we began, viz., that
whether the bag-pipe originated in Scotland, or was imported from
some other country, there is no data to show.
Certain it is that wherever the seed may have come from, it
has fallen on congenial soil — that the instrument has attained in
Scotland a perfection it has reached nowhere else, and given birth
to a rich and varied stock of music such as no other country can
boast of — ^music specially adapted for, and that can be properly
executed on, no other instrument but the bag-pipe. That it has
been known in the Highlands from a remote antiquity is highl)'
probable ; and, although it may seem strange that no allusion is
made to it in the early accounts that have come do-wn to us of
sanguinary battles fought by our ancestors, it is equally strange that
the introduction of an instrument that has been so deeply appre-
ciated, and has exerted such a powerful influence, should be left
unnoticed ; and the more recent the introduction the more extra-
ordinary the omission.
The Scotch bag-pipe has been unfortunate in the circumstance
that the only historians in remote times, both in Lowlands and
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE SCOTCH BAG-PIPE.
Highlands, were its jealous foes. The clergy, who acted in that
capacity in the Lowland portion of the Kingdom, were the hitter
enemies of the minstrels, whom they considered as satirical rivals
and intruders, who diverted from the church the money that might
have been devoted to more pious and worthy iises. They talked of
them as " profligate, low-bred buffoons, who blew up their cheeks
and contorted their persons and played on harps, trumpets, and
pipes for the pleasure of their lords, and who, moreover, flattered
them by songs, tales, and ballads, for which their masters are not
asliamed to repay these Ministers of the Prince of Darkness ■
large sums of gold and silver and rich embroidered robes."
clerical animosity to pipers is stiU testified by the S£
on various old churches, &c. ; for, as is well known, the monks were
not only the historians but the arcliitects and sciilptors of those
distant ages. In the Highlands, the seannachies and bards (the
jealous rivals of the pipers) were the sole historians — hence almost
the first notice of the grand, although unfortunate, instrument in
either division of the country is satirical.
Aristides QuintiUanus mentions that the bag-pipe prevailed
from the earhest times in the Higlilands of Scotland. Giraldus
Cambrensis, who wrote in the twelfth century, when WiUiam the
Lion was King, bears remarkable testimony to the excellency of
the Scottish music. He says, " In Scotland they use three musical
instruments, viz., the harp, the tabour, and the bag-pipe" (clioro* ).
* The proper meaning of this word is a matter of dispute amongst the
learned. That hag-pipe is the correct translation seems, however, to he
clearly proved by William Dauney, Esq., in his Introduction to "Ancient
Scottish Melodies." Ed. 183S.
The bag-pipe carved in bas-relief on Melrose Abbey,* founded in
1136, confirms the statement that the instrument was known in
Scotland at that period; for, even on the unpatriotic and un-
warranted assumption that the old sculptors were foreigners, it is
very unlikely that they would select subjects that would not be
understood by the people.
James I., who was assassinated in 1436, is said to have been a
proficient in music, and a performer on a variety of instruments,
including the bag-pipe. In the poem, of which he is the undoubted
author, called " Peblis to the Play," it is twice mentioned : —
" The hagpype blew, and thai out threw
Out of the townis untald.
Lord ! sic ane schout was thame amang,
Quhen thai were ower the wald."
" With that WiU Swane come sueitand out,
Ane mcikle miller man ;
Gif I sail dance have donn lat se
Blaw up the hagpyp than," &c.
It would appear as if the bag-pipe was not employed by the
Highlanders for purposes of war until the beginning of the 15th
century. Previous to this date the armies were incited to battle
by the prosnacha, or war song, of the bards. "With the discovery
and general use of gunpowder, and its accompanying din, they
probably found at least a part of their occupation gone, and the
irrepressible bag-pipe was substituted. A prosnacha, repeated at
the battle of Harlaw in 1411 by Macmliuirech, is said to be still
* See tail-piece.
mSTOEICAL SKETCH OF THE SCOTCH BAG-PIPE.
extant, and the last tliat was recited in battle. This Macmhuirech,
who was bard to Donald of the Isles, also wrote a satirical poem on
the bag-pipe and its lineage, in which he vented his disgust, in
" verses more graphic and humorous than gentlemanly and elegant,"*
against the powerful instrument that had stepped into his shoes.
Dr Leyden, in his Introduction to the " Complaynte," maintains
that there is no direct evidence that the bag-pipe was known at an
early period to the Highlanders, and adds that the earhest mention
of the instrument's having been used in the Highlands is at the
battle of Balrinnes in 1594. He afterwards quotes from the
Banantyne MS. an unpubKshed poem by Alex. Hume, minister
of Logie in 1598, on the defeat of the Armada. The lines : —
" Caus michtelie the weirlie nottes breike
On HeQand pipes, Scottes and Hybernicke."
It will be seen, however, from the evidence of Macmhuirech, that
the bag-pipe was in use, even in war, nearly two centuries before.
George Buchanan, in the Introduction to the History of Scot-
land, which treats of the manners and customs of the "Western
Islands, says that they (the natives) use, instead of the trumpet,
the great bag-pipe.
At the close of the 15th century the bag-pipe seems suddenly
to have jumped into general favour ; or, what is more probable,
information on it and many other subjects becomes more abundant.
We find it established as a regular institution ia every town in
Scotland. From numerous entries in the accounts of the Lord
* Vide "A Treatise on the Language, Poetry, and Music of the High-
land Clans," &c., by Donald Campbell, Esc[., Edinr. D. R. Collie & Son. 1862.
High Treasurer of Scotland, of payments to pipers, we select the
following : —
Item, Payment to the Piparis of Aberdeen, in the year 1497, iviii s.
Oct. 6, 1503. Item to the commoun piparis of Aberdeene, xxviij s.
The first day of Januar. Item to the commoun piparis of
Edinburgh, rxiij 3.
Feb. 24. Item that samyn nicht in Bigar to ane pipar and
ane fithelar be the Kingis command, . . . xiiij s.
1505, The xiiij day of Aprile. Item to the tua piparis of
Edinburgh, the Franch quhissalur, the Inglis' pipar
with the drone, ilk man, ix s, . . . . jujLvj s.
Dunbar, (the Poet Laureate of James IV.,) in his verses " To
the Merchants of Edinburgh," which give some graphic glimpses
of Edinburgh at the end of the fifteenth century, grumbles that
the city minstrels can only play twa tunes, viz., "The day daws"
and " into June " — the former, now called " Scots wha hae," being
still a favourite air on the bag-pipe.
John Knox, in his History of the Eeformation, says that the
image of St Giles, having been cast into the North Loch, another
was borrowed from the Greyfriars, for a procession in honour of
his anniversary, led by the Queen Eegent, and accompanied by
bag-pipers and other musicians. This occurred about 1556.
Amongst burgh pipers was the family of Hasties, who were the
hereditary pipers of Jedburgh for upwards of three hundred years.
The last of the line died about the beginning of the present century.
Dr Leyden mentions having seen the pipes of John Hastie, about
the year 1795 — the same set that his ancestor bore to the battle
The office of burgh piper was generally hereditary. About
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE SCOTCH BAG-PIPE.
spring time and harvest the town pipers were wont to make a tour
through their respective districts. Their music and tales paid their
entertainment, and they were usually gratified with a donation of
seed corn. They received a livery and small salary from the
burgh ; and, in some towns, were allotted a small piece of land,
which was called the piper's croft. The office, through some
unaccountable decadence of taste, was gradually aboUshed.
The magistrates of Aberdeen prohibited the common piper
from going his rounds, in these terms, " 26 May 1630. The Magis-
trates discharge the common piper of all going through the town
at nycht, or in the morning in tyme coming with his pype, it being
an uncivil! forme to be usit within sic a famous burghe and being
often fund fault with als woiU be sundrie nichtbours of the toune
as be strangers." This instrument, Dauney thinks, must have been
the great Higliland bag-pipe. " Critically speaking," he adds,
"the sounds which it emits are of a nature better calculated to
excite consternation than diffuse pleasure." We agree with him
in the inference, although we dislike the mode in which he draws it.
The name of James Munro, piper to the burgh of the Canon-
gate, appears in the account of the competition held at Falkirk
Tryste, in 1783, under the patronage of The Highland Society.
At what period bag-pipers were added to the tails of Highland
cliiefs is beyond traditionary or other record. The clan, like the
burgh, pipers seem to have been hereditary. The most celebrated
piper of whom we have any authentic notice is Eain Odhar, or
dun-coloured John, one of the family of Mao Crummens, hereditary
pipers to Mac Leod of Macleod. His son and successor, Donald
M6r, or big Donald, became eminent at an early age for his per-
formance of pibrochs. The reputation of the Mac Cmmmons was
so great that no one was considered a perfect player who had not
been iastructed or finished by them. Donald M6r was succeeded
by Patrick Og, and he liy Malcolm, and the latter by John Dubh —
the last of this celebrated race of pipers, who died in 1822, in the
91st year of his age. It is told of him that, when the infirmities
accompanying a protracted life prevented him handling liis favourite
piob-mhor, he would sit on the sunny braes and run over the
notes on the staff, which assisted his feeble limbs in his lonely
wanderings. A descendant of the Mac Crummens, a female, who
kept a school in Skye, is said to have been able to go through the
intricacies of a pibroch. Hugh Eobertson, Pipe Maker in the
Castle-Hdl, Edinburgh, who flourished in the last century, had
a daughter of stiU greater talent and accomplishments, for she
could both make and play the bag-pipe.
The Mac Arthurs, who fiUed the important office of pipers to
the Mac Donalds of the Isles, were esteemed next in excellence to
the Mac Crummens ; and, like them, kept a seminary for instruction
in pipe music. Pennant, who visited the Hebrides in 1774, describes
the collegiate edifice as being divided into four apartments — the
outer being for the shelter of cattle during winter ; another formed
the hall where the students appear to have practised ; a third was
set apart for strangers ; and the fourth was reserved for the family.
In former times it was the custom for gentlemen to send their pipers
for instruction to the celebrated masters, paying the cost of their
board and tuition. Six to twelve years were devoted to the
acquirement of Piobau'eaohds alone, for the professors would not
allow reels or quick-steps to be played in their estabUshments.
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE SCOTCH BAG-PIPE.
The author of "Certayne Matters," -writiiig in 1597, says, " The
armonr with which they (the Highlanders) covered their bodies in
the time of war is an 'iron bonnet, and halberzion side almost even
with their heels ; the weapons against their enemies ave bows and
arrows ; they fight with broad swords and axes ; in place of a drum
they use a bag-pipe," &c.
The functions of the piper were aUke important and multi-
farious. It was his duty to cheer the clansmen on their long and
painful marches, to rouse their courage and lead the van into battle,
to alarm them when in danger, to collect them when scattered, to
recal to memory the heroism of their ancestors, and to incite them,
by passionate and martial strains, to imitate their glorious example.
In peace he gave life and merriment to the wedding ; and, in wild
wailing notes, expressed the general woe at a funeral.
It is related that, during an engagement in India, in which the
Macleod Highlanders, (at that time the 73d Eegiment,) led the
attacks, the attention of General Coote was particularly attracted
by one of the pipers, who always blew up his most warKke sounds
whenever the fire became hotter than ordinary. This so pleased
the General, that he cried aloud, " Well done, my brave fellow,
you shall have a set of silver pipes for this." The promise, it is
added, was not forgotten, and a handsome set of pipes was pre-
sented to the regiment, with an inscription in testimony of the
General's esteem for their conduct and character.* The same author
narrates that General Coote, on another occasion, particularly noticed
* Colonel David Stewart's Sketches of the Highlanders and Highland
Regiments. Vol. II., p. 136. Edinburgh. 1822.
the animated maimer in which the piper played, and the efiects
produced on the minds of the men by the sound of their native
music. Previously to this he had no very favourable idea of this
instrument, conceiving it a useless rehc of the barbarous ages, aud
not in any manner calculated for disciplined troops. But the dis-
tinctness with which the shrill sounds pierced and made themselves
heard through the noise of the battle, and the influence they seemed
to excite, effected a total change in his opinion.
James Eeid, who had acted as piper to a rebel regiment in the
'45, suffered death at York on the 15th November 174G. On his
trial it was alleged in liis defence that he had not carried arms ; but
the Court observed that a Highland Eegiment never marched without
a piper, and therefore his bag-pipes, in the eye of the law, was an
instrument of war.*
At Highland weddings it is mentioned that " during the whole
day the fiddlers and pipers were in constant employment. The
fiddlers played to the dancers in the house, and the pipers to those
in the field, t
The last funeral at which a piper officiated in the Highlands of
Perthshire was that of the famous Eob Eoy, who died in 1736.
It may be mentioned that James M'Gregor, the son of the celebrated
cateran, performed on the pipes ; and that, when an exUe in Paris,
in the year 1754, aud without "subsistence to keep body and soul
together," and about a week before death kindly came to his relief,
he penned an ejjistle to his patron, Bohaldie, of which this is the
postscript : —
HISTOEICAL SKETCH OF THE SCOTCH BAG-PIPE.
"P.S. — If you'd send your pipes ty the bearer, and all the other
httle trinkims belonging to it, I woidd put them in order, and play
some melancholy tunes, which I may now with safety, and in real
truth. Forgive my not going directly to you, for if I could have
borne the seeing of yourself, I could not choose to be seen by my
friends in my wretchedness, nor by any of my acquaintance." *
When Lord Lovat — of whom it may be said in the words of
Shakspeare : —
"... nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it ; he died
As one that had heen studied in his death
To throw away the dearest thing he owed,
As 'twere a careless trifle. "
— was taken prisoner, he made the piper play before him on
the journey. He said he had ordered by his will that aU the
pipers from John o' Groat's to Edinburgh should be invited to
play before his corpse, for which they were to receive a handsome
allowance ; " but, as things were, the old women would sing the
coronach for him, and there will be crying and clapping of hands,
for I am oue of the greatest chiefs in the Highlands."
On the death of Mr Mac DoneU of Glengary, in 1828, " a large
concourse of clansmen (about 1600) assembled to pay the last sad
duty to their chief, and were plentifidly regaled with bread, cheese,
and whisky. . . The coffin was borne breast-high by eighteen
Highlanders, who relieved each other at regular intervals. The chief
mourner was the young chief of Glengary, (the only surviving son
of the late Mac Mhic Alasdair,) dressed in the full Highland garb
• Introduction to Kob Roy. (By permission of the Publishers.)
of his ancestors, with eagle's feathers in his bonnet, covered with
crape. Some hundreds of the people were arrayed in the Highland
garb. The mournful Piobaireachd, (composed by Archibald Munro
as a last tribute to his master,) was wailed forth by six pipers, and
none of the formalities usually attending on the obsequies of a chief
It seems worthy of mention that Prince Charles Edward, whose
bold and nearly successfid enterprise eventually occasioned such a
revolution in the Highlands, was a performer on the pipes, and that
the instrument he used is now in the possession of Mrs Stewart of
Sweethope. It was purchased for her grandfather, Mr Eichard
Lees of Galashiels, about 60 years ago, at a sale of the eflects of
the Cardinal of York, brother of Prince Charles Edward Stuart,
in his villa of Frescati, near Rome, after his decease. It was
sold as having belonged to Prince Charles. Sir Walter Scott,
to whom Mr Lees showed it, took a characteristic interest in the
rehc, and stated that the bag-pipe was an instrument of which the
Prince was fond, and that it was a fact that he was possessed of
After the battle of Culloden aU the peculiar customs of the
Highlanders were overthrown ; and, with their arms and garb, the
bag-pipe was for a long time almost completely laid aside. In this
interval much of the music was neglected and lost, so that, after-
wards, when the internal commotions of the country had completely
subsided, and the slumbering spirit and prejudices of our country-
men awakened under the new order of things, the principal records
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE SCOTCH BAG-PIPE.
of our ancient Piotaiieachd were tlie memories of those patriaiclis
who had proudly sounded them at the unfortunate rising.
UntU very recentlj' music for the bag-pipe was not written
according to the usual system of notation, hut was taught by a
language of its own which attempted to describe the sounds by
words. *Captaui Macleod of Guesto, or Gesto, published twenty
pieces in that peculiar tongue, which he had obtained from the
dictation of noted performers. The following is the introduction
to the gathering of the clans in that collection : —
" Hodroho, Hodrolio, haninin, hiechin,
Hodroho, Hodioho, Hodroho, hacbin."
The Highland professors recited their musical vocabulary in a
whining tone, wliich must have sounded strangely to the uninitiated.
A folio volume written in this jargon was brought to Edinburgh
in 1818 by Jolm Campbell, an aspirant at the competition then held
in that city. He possessed two other volumes, said to contain
numerous compositions; but the contents seemed like a narrative
written in an unknown tongue — bearing no resemblance to Gaelic.
One Murdoch Maclean, a pipe maker, Glasgow, hkewise a candidate,
offered to decipher it ; but, receiving no encouragement, the owner
refused to part with his volume.
Donald ^lacdonald. Pipe Maker, Edinburgh, published a collection
of Piobaireachds in 1806, set according to the regular notation,
being about the first pipe music that had been so committed ; for
which work he was awarded a prize by The Highland Society in
the same year.
* Capt. Neil Macleod's collection of Piobaireachd. Edinburgh, 1
From the year 1781 until recently, competitions were held at
Falkirk, and latterly in Edinburgh, under the auspices of The High-
land Society, for the encouragement of the music of the great
Highland bag-pipe, and prizes are still awarded to pipers at the
diSerent games and gatherings throughout the country.
Many of those who vreite on Scottish History, when they have
occasion to mention the music or musical instruments of the nation,
describe the bag-pipe in use as of three kinds, viz., the BKghland,
the Lowland, and the Northumbrian. In the foregoing pages we
have made no such distinction, believing that the three instruments
so distinguished are essentially the same. The scale of all is alike.
The only difference between them is in size ; the Highland pipes
being the largest, the Lowland or Border pipes a medium, and
the Northumbrian the smallest. It does not materially alter the
character of the instruments that the Highland is inflated by a
blow-pipe, and the two others (as also the Irish) by bellows. The
different modes of inflation necessitates, for the convenience of
tuning, a different adjustment of the drones — the latter in the
Highland pipes resting on the left shoulder and arm, where tliey
can be easUy reached by the right hand which is at freedom —
whereas, in the Lowland and Northumbrian pipes, the drones, project-
ing from one stock, repose on the right arm or thigh, so as to be
accessible to the right hand that is confined by the bellows. The
disparity in size, the position of the drones, and the two methods
of inflation have no doubt led the superficial observer to consider
them as three different instruments. It may be proper to explain
that by Northumbrian, we do not mean the modem instrument,
which has a chanter closed at the end, and furnished with keys to
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE SCOTCH BAG-PIPE.
increase the scale and to provide semi-tones, but the ancient one.
The error alluded to may have been confirmed by a propensity at
one time in vogue amongst pipers, especially of those who used the
beUows, of attempting to raise the compass by pinching out notes
not natural to the instrument; and, from the fact that in music
printed for the Highland pipes no signatures are used, or indeed
required, the nine tones it possesses being invariable, whereas the
signatures of various keys were used for the others ; but the music
could only be performed correctly by avoiding C and F natural;
and, as occasionally the music was written a fifth lower than that
for the Highland pipes, consequently the transposition affected F
natural and B flat. But, notwithstanding these apparent differences,
the three instruments are essentially the same — the scale and finger-
ing being exactly alike. The scale of the bag-pipe approaches most
nearly to the key of A major — with this difference in its intervals. The
low G and its octave being the flat seventh, but rather sharper than
G natural. The G is not a full semi-tone sharp, and D is sUghtly
sharp. Chanters have a different pitch, of course, according to size.
Dr Leyden mentions that the beUows were introduced about
the end of the 16th century. It is usually assumed that they are
an improvement on the blow-pipe ; but this is a matter of taste,
and, as the reeds require to be more delicate, they are deficient in
power. A writer in the Encyclopaedia Britannica states that the
Lowland pipes were improved by George Mackie, who went for
instruction to the College in Skye ; but, if the instrument he used
was different from the Highland pipes, he would have gone there to no
purpose. He made no improvement on the Lowland pipes whatever;
but he returned vrith a great improvement in his style of playing,
having studied and adopted the method of interposing appogia-
turas, or warblers — the great charm and difficulty of pipe music.
It is not our intention in this brief history to treat of any bag-
pipe except the Scotch ; but we may mention in conclusion that
the Irish bag-pipe is entirely diff'erent. The same may be said of
the Italian — a barbarous instrument in comparison with either the
Scotch or Irish — in fact it seems to have undergone no improvement
since the days of Nero.
From a Cast in the pos
rm m%mkm m
fAE instrument, however sweet,
Can wi' the Hieland Pipes compete ;
For tho' its notes are only nine.
Its warbling voice is so divine.
That when evoked with skill and art
It moves aU feelings of the heart,
And Kage and Love, and Joy and Grief,
Tliro' it iiiid utterance and relief.
Nae brazen band can sae inspire
The soldier's heart -m! martial fire.
And make him dash with such delight
Thro' shot and shell into the iight.
And stab and pound wi' sword and gun
His trembling foes until they run ;
Or when with feet ill-shod and sore,
He marches on a foreign shore,
And feels, thro' want of food and rest,
Exhausted, weary, and depressed,
Nae instrument that man can name
Can like the Pipes refresh the frame ;
New blood seems thro' his veins to boimd
When shrill the cheerful chanter sounds.
His step grows iirm, his head erect,
And toU no more his thoughts deject ;
Wi' supple joints, and muscles strong.
And spirits high, he steps along.
But tho' in war the Pipes excel.
In love they answer quite as weU.
In fact, you'd think they had been made,
The drowsy fair to serenade.
What maiden could, unmoved, remain
Indifferent to her faithful swain.
If 'neath her window, aU alone.
He blew the chanter and the drone !
He who is sunk in deep distress.
And has a grief he can't express.
Who feels a "woe too deep for tears,"
A heavy sorrow nothing cheers,
WiU, in the bag-pipe, find a vent
For aU the anguish in him pent ;
Its sweet pathetic voice will cheer
AVhen all around is dark and drear.
But equally in jovial hours
The bag-pipe shews its magic powers ;
Its comic Ult in jigs and reels
"Puts life and metal iu the heels,"
And is so mirthful and iuspiring
That young and old wiU dance untiring.
And snap their thumbs, and hoop and shout.
To let their bursting spirits out.
For ages past the Pipes have been
An object of contempt and spleen :
The butt of aU the English nation ;
And Scotchmen, moved by imitation,
Wlio, like the adder, will not hear,
And to the charmer shut their ear;
But now, methinks, there can be traced
The dawning of a better taste.
And soon, we hope, despite of banter,
That every Scot wiU leam the chanter.
Taste, Uke the ocean, ebbs and flows,
Tho' why and wherefore no one knows.
Time was when folks no beauty saw
In Ben Mac Dhui or Loch Awe ;
The Hieland hiUs, to men of taste,
Were aU a dreaiy barren waste,
Where heather grew instead of com —
A region mentioned but with scorn ;
But now, how many thousands pour
To make each year a northern tour,
To gaze with guide-books in their hand
On loch and glen and mountain grand.
To roam in speechless admiration
Thro' scenes of utter desolation ?
The bag-pipe too, tho' long neglected
WOl, like the hiUs, be yet respected ;
Its simple scale, devoid of art.
Speaks like the mountains to the heart :
On nature built, it need not fear
The hackneyed jest and shallow sneer
That fall on it, like ocean spray
Upon the crags that stand for aye.
GREAT HIGHLAND BAGPIPE.
The Highland Bagpipe has like most other Instruments a range of tones, being the extent of sound
it can produce, called the Scale; but before treating of the Instrument it will be necessary to give an
explanatory description of such music or musical Characters (avoiding all extraneous matter) as is re-
quisite for its needs; for without acquiring that knowledge it is entirely useless for the learner to proceed.
There are four things which are the fundamentals of music viz. the Stave, Clefs, Notes and Rests; we
.will proceed to explain the first three; the last not being required.
hich the notes are placed in or-
:r and the Spaces ^ r, .^ - —
X ample =z= the only
The Stave consists of five horizontal lines rz:=:; upon and betwe
der to denote their position. The lines of the stave are named o 2
.when there are. short lines above or below the stave they are called ledger lii
one required for the Bagpipe.
There is only one Clef used in Bagpipe Music called the Treble or G Clef
^. . tanding on the se-
cond line and giving it the name G it is therefore unnecessary to say more on that subject.
The notes come next under notice they are seven in number; named after the first seven letters in the
Alphabet A. B. C. D. E. F. G. though in music more are represented they are nevertheless the same sounds
higher (or more acute) or lower (or more grave.)
The notes placed on the lines are -^—J J f * | Er and on the spaci
appearance they may assume. ^EGBDF •^FACE
There are six kinds of notes in general use, in Pipe Music the first is not required, their name?
Semibreve, Minim, Crotchet, Quaver, Semiquaver and Demiseniiquaver.
A Seinibreve is Ihe longest note in point of time, a Minim is half as lono^ as the semibreve the Crot-
chet one half the Minim and the others are in the same proportion to one another.
The following' Table will show their relative values .
32 Demi semi quavers
of the same
A Dot placed after any note makes its duration one half longer, thus a dotted c
length as a crotchet and quaver J J
The Bar is used for dividing the tune into equal parts of time or measure and is represented by lines
drawn across the stave, Example, ^ [ | ^ also the notes placed between the vertical lines are called a bar.
A Double Bar || is to show the finish of a piece, or one of its parts and when there are dots added
they signify that the parts so marked are to be repeated.
A Pause marked thus /O when put over a double bar shows the end of the tune, when it does not finish
with the last written part, indicated by Da Capo or its Abbreviation D. C . meaning to commence again
and should the pause be placed over a note it must be made of longer duration than its proper value ac-
cording to the taste of the performer.
On the Bagpipes there are no Sharps # or Flats b nor a Chromatic Scale. Simply nine notes as af-
TIME OR MEASURE.
Time is the division of the music into equal parts, there are two kinds of measure or time, Common
and Triple. Common denotes what can be divided into two equal parts, and triple into three equal por-
tions. They are represented thus, Common time,G'C or W (^ having four crotchets or equivalents in each
bar, (b 4 contains two crotchets or notes equivalent in a bar. Compound Common time © 8 in which
there are six quavers (as indicated by the figures) in the bar or notes of the same value, (y 4 is simi-
lar, only the notes are of double value being (instead of quavers) six Crotchets in the bar.
Triple time is described as follows
(b 8 time contains in every bar 3 Quavers or equival
P 3 . . .
Q) 4 time contains in every bar 3 Crotchets or equival
W 2 time contains in every bar 3 Minims or equiva
(S 8 time contains in every bar 9 Quavers or equiva
) 4 time contains in every bar 9 Crotchets or
Beating or marking time is performed in various ways, for Common time by counting 2. 4. or 8 and
in Triple time by counting 3. 6. and 9. in each bar.
The following examples will best show how to mark time with the foot which ought always to beat the
first in every bar.
The Practice Chanter is what the learner commences with, it is m
pipes from hasing no hag (or reservoir) to hold the wind, but it s
difficult to blow than the Bag-
's to give tlie fingering of
the Instrument without the loudness of the Bagpipes and is therefore better adapted for playing in
MANNER OF HOLDING THE CHANTER.
Place the thumb of the left hand on the back hole, and the tips of the first three fingers of the same
hand on the three upper holes, the four lower holes to be covered by the first joints of the fingers of
the right hand, so that the little finger can reach and cover the bottom hole freely.
In blowing, the Pupil must do so firmly, so as to produce a good tone (and he ought to avoid tongue-
ing as on other wind Instruments for it is impossible to do so on the Bagpipes,) the many small notes
in the music called Appogiaturas,and more especially those placed between two or more notes of the same
name following in succession serve the same purpose as tongueing, omitting to play them the music will
lose its effect and they would sound as one long note.
FOR THE GREAT HIGHLA,VD BAGPIPE.
1 f 1
r^ — 1
■ ■ •
■ ■ •
• ■ •
• • •
' ' •
EXAMPLES OF THE APPOGIATURA
After the Pupil is able to play the Scale and a number of the tunes properly, he should then take
to the Great Highland Bagpipes, in holding which the Bag is placed under the left arm, and the
Chanter held and fingered as before explained.
To fill the Bag, hold the large Drone by the lowest joint with the right hand by passing ihe right
arm across the body, and with the left arm over the bag hold the Chanter with the Thumb and first
two fingers of the same hand covering their holes, when it is blown full the Instrument is held in
its position under the left arm and by a gentle pressure the sound is produced .
The Drones are all tuned (by lengthening or shortening them at the joints)to A. that is.the second
the highest note in the Scale the two small Drones are alike or unisons and the large one anocta\e
Yier. Observe in tuning; that they are a correct chord with the note E.
-mil. '^ •'
SO as to be sharper or flatter in sound;
to allow it to go farther into the Cha
it from fitting so far in, it become;
than the under ones.
1 be put into the Chanter, or Dro;
by taking a little of the thread from the end of the Ch.~-'r;r
iter it is made sharper; and by putting more thread on to jj-
flatter; though in both cases the upper notes are more influ
The thread which is round the Drone Reeds serves the double purpose of preventing them from spL"
ting up, and of tuning, for by putting the thread nearer the cut in the Reed it becomes sharper au
the reverse way makes it flatter .
: Reeds fron
Maker, it is essentially necessary to specify for what size of Bagpipe they are re-
quired- Whether for the largest, or "Full size," for the Half-size (or "Reel pipes") or for the smallest size
called "Chamber" (or "Miniature") Pipes, or for the Practice Chanter. Many merely ask for a Chanter reed,
without stating for what size of instrument it is wanted, so that if the proper article is supplied it is only by
chance. In ordering either Chanter or Drone reeds this information should never be omitted.
Length of Large Chanter 14 2 inches Size of bore wide end » of an inch
Length of 2 size Chanter 13i inches Size of bore wide end + of an inch
The Practice and Miniature Pipe Chanters have straight bores.
lills and far
. Nam kioJh agum t
n's got his
. Iain Cop
. Morag a:
Lord MacAon^ld Morag nighea
Bonnets C bonn
Braes of Tully
Highway to Lin
aidhean Ghlinn Urachaidh..
The Lais Dnns.
The Maid of Islay
The Merry Masons
The new rigged SI
The Sword Dance,
The White Cockade
.. Na Chlacoi
. An Long n
... An Snaicheantas Ban
■ a yoang man Fear a' chinn mhoir
got » Dirk Thi Biodag air Mac Thomas 9
nr them a' Willie... Cnir lir do shon fhein Uilleam. . 8
Kiiiff \n* CkuUe.. Go hhii aa righ .ch Che^rJ.M. R
2 The hills of Glenorchy
4- There jCam' a young man tojny daddys door. > I R
Wha'll be king but Charlie
The white Cockade,
yrpj fcrxMfac^ i Q - . 1^, j-^ . ^ ^^
Up an' waur them a' Willie. (Reel
J ^i'CA^yoi'^\' i} i 't:ihU''rfrih','r i
jri1iLLraL'LjL''L^' b ''i^ n 'ii'rrfa
Gillie Galium. (Reel.) ^ ^ ^ . fc ^ ^ ^
rjiifriTi^'u L' i ' uMi'nii i]]' i j iiii^
Thomson's v-pX a dirk. (Reel
inomspns gfpx a airx . ixveei.) ^ v S^e- t P^6
j^rrrr Tr^ff i lrfj iVi fl^ 'fi I i i i I'd^", ^1
Perthshire Volunteers . /Strath.)
The Highway to Linton. fReel.)
-n — II' '^ r r
lfl\ u r,f,\f\ u-f TiH u r*f r 1 r. ,f r ^ri
12 The Braes o' Tullymet. (Strath.)
Sandy is my Darline. (Reel.
Miss Falconer. (Reel.)
Lochiels Rant .jReel.) ^ fe ^ ^ & ^
y^'V L^rLOs I [ r^r^' r I V n r r r r ^ [IL ' I'dlLT ^^ 'h
14 John Roy Stewart . (Strath.)
The maid of Islay. ( Strath .| ^
Cameron's got his wife again. (Strath.)fc k
^ I fe ^ *^^ — ^ — J i-S ^ »^m M * i
} ^,%^ }
jiii i|-|iiii r^ji itiif iij^jVii
Jenny dang the weaver. (Reel
Sleepy Ma^^gie.(Re^) ^^_ ' ^ _ ^^ ^g^
J. & R. GLEN,
GREAT HIGHLAND OR MILITARY BAGPIPES.
Full Mountid, Silver, Lngra^c 1 (i
Half Siher and Half Ivorj, Liign\ed
1. Full Mounted Ivorv,
2. Full Mounted, Hilt hory in 1 Hill
Germ m Silvir,
2a. Second Qualitv, do do ,
3. Half Mounted hon,
4. Half Mouiittd, f.cini.»n Sihii
HALFSIZE OR REEL BAGPIPES
4a. „ ,, ,, „ idiin turned, 2 10
MINIATURE OR CHAMBER BAGPIPES
1. Full Mounted, Ivory, 2 1j u
2. Full Mounted, Half Ivory and Hilf
German Sll^cr, 2 10
3. Half Mounted, Ivorj, 2 t
4. HalfMommd, GtrnianSiher 2
4a. , „ plain turned, 1 15
D BAGPIPE MAKERS
2 & .3 NORTH
;eptHead, . 4
EBONY Ol; rOCOAWOOD.
1 Full Size, Best, . . . . 15
2 Full Size, Second Quality, . . 12 6
3 Half Size, Best, . . 10 6
4 Half Size, Second Quality, . 8
Bigpipe Chanter Reeds, Best Quality,
proved, each 9
„ „ ,, each, . 6
Practice „ „ each, . 6
lagpipeDrone ,, each, . 3
Glen's Collection, Part 1, containing,
Instructions, and 52 Marching,
Dancing, and Slow Airs, , 3
Glen's Collection, Part 2, 72 tunes, . 3
Glen's Collection, Part 3, 89 tunes, . 3
M'Donald's Collection of Quick-steps,
Strathspeys, Beels, and Jigs (120
M'Donald's Ancient Martial Music of
Caledonia, called Pibrochs, . . 110
Bagpipe Flags and other sundries supplied to order.